October has been a whirlwind of activity and I can’t believe that it flew by so quickly. From the busy class schedule to volunteering to a fall break adventuring in Europe the days seem to be slipping by faster than I’d imagined. But with Halloween festivities coming to a close and classes starting up again after our fall break, I thought I’d share with you guys some tips and tricks I’ve learned after my fall break adventures.
1. Do Your Research
Planning a long vacation can be stressful especially if it’s your first time doing it alone which was the case for me. I have traveled abroad before but all of those times, my parents had done all of the planning for me so this time was a bit different and I learned pretty quickly that planning a trip is actually a lot of work and takes a lot of organization.
Therefore, my first suggestion is to do your research.
Since my friends and I were students traveling on a student’s budget we tried to find the cheapest flights and lodging accommodations possible, however, we did not look as thoroughly into some of these things as we could have which is why I urge you guys to take time to look up hotel/hostel deals and flight deals. Additionally, especially when it comes to booking flights, be weary of booking through third party sites that do the “researching” for you. Sites like these are super helpful when doing your initial research but be careful booking through them because some of them may charge you for the privilege of using the site on top of the actual cost of the ticket.
Also, if you’re traveling with a group of other students, I suggest to divide and conquer the research. If you and your friends are planning to visit multiple cities, maybe one of you can be in charge of booking lodging for one city, while the other books lodging for another city, and then have another person be in charge of looking up flights allowing all of guys to split the difficult task of planning a trip. However, if you’re traveling solo, you may have to take more time researching and booking lodging and flights on your own.
2. Getting organized
Normally, I am the type of person who tends to figure things out as they go along but during this trip I tried to stay on top everything because I didn’t want to risk screwing anything up. This is why the next step I propose is getting organized at least a week before you depart; however, giving yourself more time to prepare everything is always a good idea.
When getting organized, I suggest that you first double check that all of your tickets are in order in case some of them need to be printed ahead of time. This is especially helpful when you’re traveling to multiple places and will likely not have immediate access to a printer while you’re away.
The next thing I would do is verify where your airport/train station is relative to your hotel/hostel/Airbnb and plan out how you’re going to get from point A to point B. In some situations, it may just mean having to take a cab in which case you may just need to locate a taxi upon arriving. But if you’re not taking a cab and you don’t have an arranged pick-up for when you arrive, you’re most likely going to have to deal with public transportation, like the metro, which is why I suggest maybe asking someone you know who has visited this place before how they managed get around. If not, you can always do some research ahead of time on your own of the public transport system so that you’re at least somewhat familiar with how it all works when you arrive.
Once you’ve figured all of that out and know where you’re going and how you’re getting there, I then urge you to make a packing list. Even if you make it a day before leaving (which may be the case if you prosctinate like me), packing lists are super helpful especially if you’re limited on space and are going to be gone for an extended period of time. I find it a nice to organize everything I need on paper (or on a phone/laptop if you prefer typing) and like the fact that I can easily go back and double check if I am forgetting something.
3. Make a budget
This also goes along with the getting organized step but something that I suggest to you do that I did not do very well is budget your money. Decide somewhat ahead of time how much you want to spend during the entirety of your trip as well as how much you may need to put aside for an emergency. I definitely could have benefited from setting a budget for myself and sticking to it because I ended up running through a good chunk of my savings once all was said done. As always, there are going to be some unexpected costs but it’s a good idea to at least have some sort of maximum budget for yourself so that you don’t spend too much too quickly.
Additionally, if you haven’t told your bank that you’re going to be travelling outside of the country ahead of time, let your bank know that you’re going to be travelling to multiple places so that they don’t put a hold on your account. Even if you’re already abroad but haven’t told them that you’re to be travelling within other countries it’s a good idea to figure out a way to contact them so that you have full access to your accounts.
Another thing I suggest is pulling out some cash before you leave your home base in case some places don’t take your card. While more often than not you will have access to an ATM no matter where you are in the world, it’s always nice to come prepared with some cash of your own (so long as your currency works where you are travelling).
4. Other Tips and Tricks
Aside from those three pieces of advice I also came across a few tips and tricks that I found helpful during my travels and that I wished someone might have told me about sooner.
One thing I learned is that meals can get pretty expensive, especially if you’re travelling in a super touristy place that makes it their goal to get you spend a bunch of money. With this being said, I suggest two things: the first is to pack lots of snacks and/or locate a grocery store when you arrive to purchase some cheaper food items. This is especially helpful if you have a food allergy/intolerance of some sort and may not have as much access to foods that are safe to you while on the road. By packing your own snacks you can avoid spending a bunch of money on food throughout the day and can avoid the “tourist trap” places that may overcharge you for the same type of food.
Another thing I suggest, is keep a water bottle with you while your adventuring because many restaurants tend to charge for water if you ordered it with your meal and this can significantly increase the price of each meal; however, if you have your own water and you have the ability to refill it somewhere else like at your hotel/hostel you can avoid this extra cost while dinning out.
Lastly, the biggest piece of travel advice that I can suggest to you is to pack light! This is something that people have been telling me to do for as long as I can remember but I just can’t seem to figure out. Every time I travel, I try my best to pack light but I always seem to fill my bag(s) up pretty much to their maximum capacity after which I am left with feelings of regret while I lug my belongings through airports and train stations. Therefore, if you’re anything like me, I urge you to try your best to pack as light as you can because most likely you’re not going to need as much as you think you do, and you never know when you’re going to have to sprint to catch your train at the very last minute with all of your luggage weighing you down. Also if you under pack, you have more room for souvenirs which is one of the best parts of travelling the world.
More Blogs From This Author
<p>Hello everyone! My name is Sarina and I from California but attend the University of Portland. I am currently studying Organizational Communications and French. I love to explore new places, whether that be a new country or a new coffee shop. Additionally, I love all things Disney and Harry Potter related and I am known for occasionally bursting out into song (especially camp songs). <o:p></o:p></p>